5 Things To Do Instead of Social Media
How to Stop Wasting Your Life
Staying focused, clear-headed, and productive during the day can be so stifled by the haze of social media. My self-awareness goes out the window when Facebook newsfeed gets involved. I actually lose consciousness of my body and the time. After what intended to be a quick jaunt to check my notifications, I’ll be slumped over barely able to pull myself away.
As a homemaker and a writer, I set my own schedule. After focused cleaning for an hour, I often take a break on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, just to “relax” for a few minutes before the next task.
One problem with this is it’s not relaxing. My mind is just being inundated with comparisons, scary clickbait stories, and personal difficulties. The notification center offers these little dopamine hits that are addictive.
Also, there are studies linking social media consumption with depression and anxiety. All that mindless time spent on social media can hinder anyone’s self-knowledge journey.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-social media. I love seeing friend’s photos, learning new recipes, and reading news stories. The benefits of social media are plentiful. It’s a tool, and it can be a great servant, but it’s a dangerous master.
When you feel that urge to zone out on social media, try one of the five things instead:
Meditation is not hippy-dippy anymore. There are now legit studies on how the practice of meditation actually changes the shape of your brain. People who practice meditation shrink their amygdala over time and grow their pre-frontal cortex. These people become less reactive and better at concentration and awareness.
Scrolling through newsfeeds trains your mind to need constant stimulation, making focused attention that much harder. Meditation is the perfect antidote.
I love the app Headspace, and I do short meditations on there daily. I usually do a three-minute one first thing in the morning and a ten-minute one in the afternoon. It is so helpful for relaxing and focusing my mind.
2. Do Brain Exercises
As we age, keeping our minds active and sharp is vital to brain health. Consuming social media is so passive, and it messes with our dopamine receptors. Doing something active with the mind instead of zoning out will help you curb the need for social media.
I have a go-to app for this tip as well: Elevate. I do a “training session” first thing in the morning (when I am apt to catch up on social media). The sessions consist of three games that focus on math, reading, writing, speaking, or listening. I have definitely noticed a difference in my speed at calculating sale prices when I’m shopping, my variety of word choice in my writing, and even my spelling. What is social media doing to our skills in these areas?
You could also try Luminosity or other free games online. I like these games because it’s something I can click instead social media.
Another alternative to social media is getting your body active. This helps you disengage from your automatic tendency to click that app on your phone. You can get active any way you like, go for a brisk walk, do jumping jacks, or stretch, but my go-to exercise is squats.
Squats are one of the best exercises out there, and they are quick and easy to do right at your desk at work. Start doing them regularly, and it will change your life. Seriously.
4. Make a Gratitude List
Studies have now shown that you can cure depression and anxiety with a daily gratitude practice. At the very least it can lessen the symptoms significantly.
Why are we constantly clicking on social media? Boredom is a big reason, but I also find myself on social media when I’m nervous about something or feeling down. By practicing gratitude, you can alleviate the cause of going to social media in the first place.
Start with just three things you are grateful for. This can anything you want. Write them down in a Google Doc or a spiral notebook. Gradually increase your gratitude list until you get to ten things a day. Do this at a set time, preferably first thing in the morning, or do it when you are feeling that craving for social media.
5. Create Rather Than Consume
On Twitter, 10% of the users account for 90% of the content. People by-in-large are consuming content on Twitter and not creating it. Change your relationship to social media by producing rather than consuming.
Spend ten to twenty minutes a day creating posts and sharing your thoughts and insights, ideally through a social media scheduling application like HootSuite.
This condenses and focuses your time on social media, it keeps you active, and it gives you the satisfaction of contributing to the conversation rather than getting lost everybody else’s ideas. Creating content helps you find your voice; consuming content all too often numbs your mind and gives you information overload.
Be more intentional about your time, and you will change your relationship with social media. When you pick up your phone, think before you click!